When to Intervene in Other Parents Child Rearing?

Updated on September 14, 2011
J.T. asks from Lytle, TX
23 answers

My son is on a local league football team. I am the team mom. My husband and I are very active in the community and we love all kids dearly. I had a rather disturbing incident happen with a parent and child, and I need some advice.
The first week of practice, this little boy came running off the field terrified and turning purple because he wasn't moving any air. Without hesitation, I sit the little boy down, hand him my inhaler and tried to cool him down. We almost called 911, but his color returned after several minutes.
His grandmother who brought him to practice that day tells me that she had an inhaler she had been letting him "use" but had ran out. She was just as frantic watching him struggle to breathe. I thought perhaps money was an issue for not providing him with an inhaler, but she assured me that he was on Medicaid and that wasn't the issue.
She took him home and I called the dad later that evening to check on the boy and see how he was doing. I explained to the father how serious the incident was in which the father just brushed me off stating he has "allergies" and nothing more. He stated that he was simply out of shape and being a wimp.
Fast forward to Monday. The little boy hurts himself during practice and is bleeding and crying. He runs over to his dad and dad refuses to help. He screams at his son to, "Get your *ss back on the field and suck it up." The dad then drives away leaving the boy alone.
About 30 minutes later, the father returns in which the little boy is still sitting out of practice. The boy gets into the truck with Dad in attempt to leave the practice. The dad screams and cusses this boy out for 20 minutes straight, calling him horrible names and telling him that his little sister could play better than him. The situation was getting rather uncomfortable as his yelling is heard from across the parking lot by another team's practice. All of a sudden, the dad just starts wailing on the little boy. He hit him in his face across his chest, slapping him....ect...Several parents get up to run over and intervene at this point, and an off duty police officer overhears and comes over as well. The police officer states that since he didn't *see* him physically hit him, that he can't intervene, but warns the dad to not do it again. The dad leaves in a fit of rage with the child screaming in the passenger seat.

Yesterday at practice, the child was not there. It is later found out that this child did not show up for school yesterday as well. Several parents were talking about the incident last night at practice. All parents felt like something should be done but no one has any clear answers. No one wants this little boy hurt or stepping in where it's not warranted. I personally think that just these two incidents I have witnessed certainly fall under neglect. I understand times are hard, people are stressed but really?
I am sickened by this. Should I call the school counselor and let her know what's going on? What would you have done in this terrible situation?

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Denver on

Call everybody!! The school counselor, social services, the police! Please, get this little boy some help NOW! If the Dad is willing to be that way to his son in front of many other people who knows what he is doing behind closed doors! Please get this boy some help!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

Yes - call the school and let them know what you know. Call the police - do you know the officers name that was there that day? Tell them what you saw happen and that now he is not showing up at school.
He might have too many marks on him or something that they don't want to be seen at school......is he at school now?

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Seattle on

If you saw that man hurt his boy you should have called the police and CPS (child protective services). All of the parents that saw that should have done the same thing. Come on mama...you are the only voice for this boy who is OBVIOUSLY being abused both physically and mentally.
Call the police, call CPS, be ready to make a report and STAND UP FOR THIS POOR BOY.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Call CPS immediately and report everything you just said.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

I would immediately call the school and tell THEM what happened... they are better prepared and have better resources to handle something like this. They will NOT take it lightly, especially since the child was not at school.

Hope everything's okay :(

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

Call CPS and report what you saw.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Call CPS. I don't think it's too late, and based on the fact that he didn't show up the next day, I'd be worried. Trust your gut and call the authorities.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

Gosh your story made me cry at work. Poor child. As others have stated, you REALLY need to call CPS and report this. he could be doing this to other people in his family that are terrified to go up against him (like this boys mom)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Added: Just saw what happened. Please Know that you did the right thing. You may have had more of an affect than you know. Sure, the school can't go on your word but hopefully they will be watchful and jump in sooner than they would have otherwise. This may atleast get him attention and people observing him a little more. That alone could end up helping him.
This sounds so horrible! I would call the school counselor, the police, child protective services, ANYONE I could think of. The police officer didn't witness it but SEVERAL people did! Even if you talk to several agencies/people who can't help, you'll hit upon someone who will or know how to check up on this boy. I'd ask any parent you know who saw what happened to do the same! As others have suggested, I don't think you should personally intervene. It could put the child further danger and yourself in danger. All the best and PLEASE Let us know what happens.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

If you have the home address you can call the local police and ask them to do what's called a "well check" on the child. As football mom and witnessing what you did, you have a right to call for a "check". The officer will go to the house and ask to see the child to make sure they are "well". Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Sorry, but that off duty officer was a pretty sad example. Could he not SEE the marks left on that boy? If his dad had just hit him, his face, chest and arms would be red. Does this kid have a mother around? I would be calling the school ASAP and telling the school EXACTLY what you saw. I would also contact CPS, the cops, just about anybody else that I could think of.

If a child is being abused, then yes it is our duties as adults to step in. If you are the coach, team captain, what have you, then you need to make it perfectly clear that screaming, cursing, and what not is not acceptable.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

If it were me, I would report the entire incident to the CPS. There were plenty of witnesses to this, so it's not like the dad would know. But the boy needs someone to intercede and make sure he's safe and that is the CPS's job.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Call the police, call the school, and call CPS. This father seems like a lunatic, and this boy needs to be protected. Remember, it takes a village....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

Oh God, that is dreadful. Please call the school right away and tell them. Given the scene yesterday, and now his absence today, who know what might have happened!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tucson on

Call the police to do a child welfare check and CPS. Poor little boy is being abused physicly, emotionaly and mentaly. Get him help.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I agree with everyone else, call the School Counselor and/or Principle and CPS both.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Report the inhaler to DFS or whatever it is called in your state. They will investigate if the child has actually been treated and if he isn't the family will be in trouble. Sadly the inhaler is the only thing you listed that they will act on.

My ex used to and perhaps still does yell at our children like that. Unfortunately until he causes real physical harm or kills the child they will do nothing. Often makes me wonder where some new shows find that one person who never harmed their child but got them taken away. My ex was hotlined by our oldest daughter twice, by the police five times and two different hospitals each once. He still has joint custody with me. Scary but true.

If you only hotline the actionable incident they are more likely to act on it. Give them a list and they may ignore everything or only deal with what is easier. In other words they would only call him and ask how things are going, not good.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

i agree call asap! and let us know that the boys ok

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Didn't read others.

CPS, now! Most police get courses in domestic situations but have relayed numerous times to me and to others that it is their least comfortable situation as it is not black and white and needs to be sorted out.

I would also call the school. Make some noise.

Brighter the light, the harder it is to hide.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

When the officer said that he couldn't do anything because he didn't see it, anyone that did see it could've filed a complaint against the Dad.

The school should be notified about the incident since he didn't show up for school, and DCS should be notified because of Monday's incident.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rockford on

Ummm...wow! We are actively involved in our kids sports too and I have seen similar (not nearly as awful, but pretty harsh) behavior from parents. What you just described warrants a call to DCFS or CPS or whatever the institution may be called in your area. Around here, those calls are taken seriously and would at the very least be investigated.

That poor boy. HOW do parents not realize, they are still little kids...football players or not! We expect our son to deal w/ a few bumps and bruises, but he knows if he is truly hurt or needs to sit out, that he will not be in trouble...his health and safety are FIRST! (my husband is a coach, so I think that makes him even tougher on our son, but also more protective if something happens!) Best of luck in this...definitely not an easy situation to have witnessed or to get involved in. Keep us posted.


answers from Denver on

Please call this one in, you can remain anonymous hopefully another parent already did. This child needs a more loving home or at least away from an abusive one. If I ever saw a parent actually hit hard enough to cause harm to the child I would call it in especially if I knew how to get CPS in contact with this family.

Just call the local police department and explain what happened and just see if they can do a well visit if the child wasn't at school again today. Just to make sure the child is alive at least.



answers from Salt Lake City on

you said there was a grandma? do you know how to get in touch with her? Let her know there will be phone calls made and people coming to check on the boy. Then call somebody help that kid, if he has family he would be better off with and apparently he isnt the only child in this house help them all.

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